JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.
The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.
According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)
assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.
provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)
The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
<July 17> desiring him to decide. The replied that it was not for him to decide such a question, or to order any body of citizens, whether Mormons or anti-Mormons, out of the or .
“From the feeling evinced by the most active in the anti-Mormon ranks, we came to the conclusion, that nothing but a dread of consequences would prevent further outbreaks. The flame has been smothered for a time, but the fire has not been quenched, and slight causes may make it burst forth more fiercely than before. [HC 7:195]
“ has a most arduous duty to perform. Of his ability to discharge it, we will not now speak. At our latest dates, he was still at , and avowed the intention of maintaining the as-cendancy of the law at all hazards. He has dismissed all the troops and they have returned to their homes.” [HC 7:196]
<18> Thursday 18. No rain since the night of the 29th. ult., of any moment, excessively warm. Thermometer 98½◦ Far.; after sunset the clouds gathered dense and black, accompanied by lightning which became so constant, and the flashes so near each other, as to be almost one continued flash— lighter than noon day; the rain descended in torrents,— the wind tremendous, prostrating many trees and some houses
The following is from ’s Journal:—
“Prest arrived in the city of , also Elders , and . We met together in Council, and agreed to counsel the elders, and brethren having families at , to return immediately to them. advertised that he would preach on the subject of the massacre of Joseph and , the Prophet and Patriarch of the Church.
“According to appointment the Saints and friends met in a Hall in Washington Street. I reported the following synopsis of ’s remarks:— ‘ preached from words in the 24th. Ch. Matthew, 9 to 14 verses as the foundation of some remarks. He said he would much rather leave the strife of men, and spend his time in speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ; but it is my design to night to speak upon the death of the prophet and . Some might think because of the death of the men it would put a stop to the work, but not so, when God has sent men at any time, they were opposed by the world; for any generation that has a prophet of God in their midst, they see his weakness as touching human nature, and the people are watching for iniquity, and they spend all their time talking about anything they see him do that does not accord with their traditions, and tell a great many falsehoods about him, but entirely forget and overlook all the good he does. It was so with our Savior, men looked upon him as an impostor, and Beelzebub the prince of devils; and when he was crucified, they were not satisfied with his death, but thrust a spear into his side, and there came out blood and water. But how is it now with the Savior? All profess to believe on him: they don’t talk about what his persecutors said were his bad deeds, but they speak of his good deeds. When a man dies, his bad deeds die with him, and his virtues live and grow brighter. The Gentiles say, ‘If I had lived in the days of the Savior I would not have killed him, but would have rejoiced.’ But imagine yourselves living in the days of [p. 274]